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Elder Bush, Clinton team up again for relief effort

Former presidents create fund for hard-hit states

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Former Presidents Clinton and Bush will lead an effort to raise private funds.

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HOUSTON, Texas (CNN) -- Former Presidents Bush and Clinton have established a fund to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Clinton said Monday that "we need to have a fund where we can fill in the blanks and help people who otherwise would be totally overlooked."

Bush said the money raised will be given to the governors of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, who will decide how best to use it.

Those three states were hit hard by Katrina, which came ashore August 29 as a Category 4 hurricane.

Among the companies and groups that have announced pledges are Nike, Microsoft, the Trump Group, nine presidential libraries or centers, the Clinton Foundation and George H.W. and Barbara Bush.

Wal-Mart and the Walton Family Foundation have pledged more than $20 million.

President Bush asked his father and Clinton to lead the effort to raise private funds and reprise their roles from the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami in December.

When asked about criticism of the federal government's response to the disaster, the elder Bush said he is focusing on moving forward. As far as blunt remarks directed at his son, he said, "The president can take it."

Clinton said Congress, which returns Tuesday from its five-week summer recess, needs to focus immediately on employment, housing and cash-assistance issues for storm victims.

He said there should be analysis of how the relief efforts were handled but said such an evaluation can wait until the future.

"We're still finding bodies," Clinton said.

Barbara Bush: Shelters working well for 'underprivileged'

Former first lady Barbara Bush told a radio interviewer Monday night that many of the people she met with at Houston's Astrodome were "underprivileged anyway" and their newfound shelter "is working very well for them."

"Almost everyone I've talked to says we're going to move to Houston," Bush told American Public Radio's "Marketplace" after touring the obsolete sports arena, where 17,500 residents from the New Orleans area are being housed.

"What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everybody is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway -- this, this is working very well for them."

Many evacuees from Louisiana were been relocated to Houston. In addition to the people at the Astrodome, more than 7,400 people displaced by the storm are being housed at Houston's Reliant Center, the Reliant Arena and George R. Brown Convention Center.

The shelters have no more room for people who need a place to stay but will help people who need medical assistance.

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